Let’s say a child goes to stack blocks into a tower but struggles to balance them. Frustrated, he may cry out, “I just can’t do it. I’m not good at building towers.” Despite encouragement from a caregiver, the child insists on giving up, convinced that building a tower is beyond his abilities.
This is just one example of a fixed mindset, evident in this child’s belief that his skills are fixed and cannot be improved with effort and practice. This mentality is commonly a great source of discouragement and reluctance to keep trying, even leading to a fear of making mistakes. If children cannot overcome this kind of thinking early on, what will it be like for them in school when they start learning more complicated skills, like how to read or do math? Preparing children to embrace the complexities of life starts with helping them believe that they can learn.
This is where you, the caregiver, come in.
In this scenario, helping this child develop a growth mindset would involve providing support, emphasizing the importance of effort in learning, and helping them understand that skills can be developed over time. Novel research by educational psychologist, Carol Dweck, Ph.D., has shown that the way we think about our intelligence plays a crucial role in how we process challenges and the effort we are willing to put into growth. Thus, helping your child foster a growth mindset early in life is crucial to their future learning and personal development.
So, what is a Growth Mindset?
Put simply, a growth mindset is believing that your brain can adapt and grow to learn new information and acquire new skills. In other words, it is the mentality that your intelligence is developed over time and with practice and support, rather than an innate quality you are stuck with at a given level.
Why Help My Child Foster a Growth Mindset?
- Increases motivation and a passion for learning
- Makes facing new challenges easier
- Builds resilience to challenges and failure
- Increases ability to change personal characteristics
- Reduces the negative effects of stereotype threat on achievement
- Improves academic performance and success in the workplace
- Creates a safe environment for learning in the home
How Can I Help My Child Foster a Growth Mindset?
- Start by developing a growth mindset yourself and be an example
- Be open about your mistakes and be ready to learn from them
- Be patient with yourself and recognize the power of imperfect and continual learning
- Be mindful of the language you are using with them
- Consider the power of the statement, ”Not yet”
- Praise both effort and learning
- Check out these activities for kids
- Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities
- Watch these videos together:
For More Information:
- Check out this video of what a Growth Mindset means for Children
- Visit The Complete Guide on how to nurture a Growth Mindset in Kids
- Read 5+ Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset Using Grit and Resilience